Explore the striking cultural contrasts of Vietnam and Cambodia on this 8-day Downstream Classic Mekong Cruise from Saigon to Siem Reap aboard RV Bassac Pandaw. Travel from Saigon's vibrant French colonial port through the vast delta so rich in human life and endeavor to Cambodia's rich countryside. With a full day in charming Phnom Penh, you then explore remoter waterways as you progress to the great monuments of Angkor. Disembark in Saigon.
Visit the floating markets & fish farms by sampan in Chau Doc
Explore riverside villages, markets, and temples while traversing through Kampong Tralach
In the morning, you visit Angkor Ban and a local Cambodian school where the local library was built with the support of Pandaw and the guests. Guests are encouraged to bring books to donate to the library for children to read. After lunch, you study the entire silk-making process from worms to weavers as you visit 'Silk Island'. After learning about the silk process there is a demonstration of the ancient Khmer martial art of Bokator.
In the morning, travel by coach to the ancient capital of Cambodia, Oudong. On the way, you stop to visit the Vipassana Dhura Meditation Centre before taking a drive around the city. Rejoin your ship in Kampong Tralach for lunch aboard. In the afternoon, you travel by ox-cart around the river-side villages, markets, and temples. In the evening cocktails are around a village fire pit where you joined by village folk keen to show you their traditional dancing and more of the delightful Khmer culture.
Morning orientation of Phnom Penh by cyclo visiting the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda followed by the National Museum with its marvelous collection of Angkorian statuary. In the afternoon you visit the Killing Fields and Genocide museum to learn more about the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Overnight in Phnom Penh city port with its lively bars, restaurants, and night life.
You up anchor early morning and cruise downstream along the Mekong River to the Vietnam border for immigration formalities. You go alongside at the picturesque border town of Long Thuan where you visit the floating fish farms by sampan. You make a stop at a Taoist temple where you meet a local fortune teller before continuing by Xi Loi through the riverside village and their various farms. Before heading back to the ship, you enjoy a traditional Vietnamese Lion dance onshore.
Sailing through the delta offers a real insight into life along this vast waterway. You pass through a small canal and head ashore to Con Phuoc Island where you visit local craftspeople weaving bamboo baskets the traditional way. After a demonstration, you try your hand at making your own. You then take a local tuk tuk for a drive through this peaceful village, stopping at a 100 year old church and meeting more of the friendly local community.
After lunch, you journey by sampans through mangroves and bamboo forests to the fruit orchards of Ben Tre. This is an area rich in birdlife which you explore via local transport before transferring to a local rowboat. You journey slowly through the bamboo covered canals before arriving at a village specializing in making local products. In the evening you are entertained by a Vietnamese dance troupe on deck.
Day 8: My Tho | Saigon | Disembark
Morning disembarkation and travel by coach from My Tho to Saigon.
Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!